If you asked me whether or not I imagined
Myself finding god in the thick lesions of a storm
Drain at this point in my life, I’d tell you
Anything is possible so long as it doesn’t
Concern me–the exception to the rule of all
Ontologies I’ve pilfered from the torn spines
Of so many books. Listen to me,
A holocaust survivor whose name escapes me
Once said the trick to mastering a beautiful lif`e
In a world riled by pain and other such misfortunes
Is finding meaning in absolutely everything.
Can you believe this? paper coffee cups fattened
In the rain absolve your sorrows, a stranger smoking
On three-dollar cigarettes knows you and takes
The poison of your day in sups without a word–
You never even see their face, but you understand, right?
Your body isn’t a wound it’s just a body,
Your mind isn’t a temple, it’s just a mind,
And isn’t that just the funniest thing?
A friend told me of a writer who spent his life writing
The same poem again and again with different words
And desperation, saying the same feeling but with each
Line calling for someone to reach him as only they could.
And maybe I’m doing the same thing, but I’m telling you
There’s a storm drain on twelfth that has something to say.
You peel wet leaves from the sidewalk
Considering a stale cigarette bent from your
Palms, really meditating on dogs across the
Way who sometimes look at you and it means
The world, and this is your evening.
And you wonder about people you haven’t heard
From in awhile because someone told you once you find
Strength within yourself but stability in others, and who
The hell said that you can’t remember.
But sometimes you find yourself drinking white dog mash
With a friend in a bar somewhere without fear, a certainty
Found only in that yawning madness you can truly grasp
Over spirits and really stoking that balled fist of embers in
Your stomach–the laughter, and oh god the laughter.
Because this is all you’re ever gonna get, and sometimes
You have another day to get a little more and it never feels
Complete, you want the world or nothing.
You want a cusp of flesh, or nothing.
You want all the tongues and voices around, or nothing.
Or you want nothing at all and can’t understand there are times
When somehow things come a little easier.
And oh they come a little easier, I know,
But what the hell can I do with a little peace?
As the last rot of evening peals
From the ducts and I knead my burning
Legs into the mattress.
Swallowed in cashmere, a torn blue-night
Blanket a thousand fingers nesting in the flesh,
And the old leather fraying up in the woodwork
Missing last years reverence when their faces
Were only faces and never lights for my hands.
Medicinal tinfoil scratches against the floor as the
A/C folds, pills for gut flora, etc etc.
There are people who love while others only feel,
Can anyone believe this before being ravaged by poetry?
I couldn’t sleep after spending hours on shores staining
My wrists with the ash of stripped branches, watching them
Sit on the rocks as the waters creased and holding each other.
And it lasted only seconds, by God, but that’ll show times harbors
No power anymore–we broke it last night, last night, last night.
Now I sleep nursing a headache from the ease of it all.
It’s all quiet here, but the music comes soon,
I know, I know.
The poem is written, now let me rest.
In the white gloom
From the television
Laughing at the banal ethics
Of satirical characters,
You taking nips off the bottle
And I fighting the acid
Gloaming in my stomach
By the wake of a poor meal.
The credits pace
And the lights cut.
We cease into one another
And the cinnamon on your breath
Cruxes this fugue of lurid beastial
Sprint throughout this wounded
Body again and again.
You are not a sheath,
Or a dawning sun,
But a body awaiting
And I myself am a body
Starving for rank.
The corrosion of your body
Tears me, melds me, thirsts me
Eats me into a finer almost pure
Elemental yet flawed in
The most cunning way.
But by the end of the night
I am still the man
I have always been,
And you still the woman
With the liquid tree eyes
And the universe reverts,
The earth reverts,
The city reverts,
No the room reverts,
No the sheets revert
Into a stillness we
Know so well,
You eat some dinner
Have a fingerful of drink
Play the guitar awhile
Have a smoke.
You put on a dimestore record
Ground the wires with a knotched penny
Listen to a tired voice nail itself off the vinyl
Have another fingerful .
You long to hear a woman’s voice
Thumb away at numbers worn bare
Feign a conversation with the one you love
Feel yourself up.
Soon the fingers become a fist
A ball of embers rolling in your stomach
Reaching out for a lighter falling short
Dipping fingers into wax.
Falling asleep on the floor
Lost in the hypocrisy of it all.
The glory or the guts of a Friday,
It all bleeds from the same body.
On the patio she took her meditations by intricate circles
From the American Spirit nested in her fingers the smoke
Paled almost hyaline beneath a worn umbrella discussing
How Pound brought the haiku to the states and words became
A movement became a madness became a miss or a whim,
As always in these cases as we wonder who of the greats remain
Alive–Giovanni whispers in a university classroom in Virginia on a
Payroll while she bangs out her jazz for the first time in anthology
In select classrooms across the midwest to soft bodies–and where were you
When you realized this is actually what you want, to breathe in
The boredoms and melancholies of life and expel absolute beauty?
We talked about these things over one cigarette while children
Wrestled in the grass out front, their cries masked by their laughter,
And she carried the spent guts of her American Spirit to her rental
Car and drove with a place in mind for the first time in years.